Flinders Uni Podcasts and Vodcasts

I’m studying at Flinders Uni this year - so far it has been pretty cruisy, with a summer school subject I think I got 93% for, and lectures started proper this week. Pretty much all of the topics I am studying, and a whole lot more are available as podcasts or video streaming. You need to be logged into the FLO (Flinders Learning Online - an excellent tool, from what I’ve seen) to get the streaming video (I think), but the podcasts are technically available to anyone. If you know the URL, for example:

COMP 3001, 2008 Audio Feed : http://video.flinders.edu.au/podcasts/COMP3001/audio/COMP3001_2008.xml

You should now be able to figure out the URL for any topic. Just replace the COMP3001 with your subject code, and audio with video, if you desire.

The files are quite large, but no larger than regular podcasts.

I wasn’t able to find anything on the University website(s) that prohibit me from making this information public, but it may be under copyright restrictions. So only use it if you are allowed to…

BBC Radio 4 - Comedy - Hut 33

BBC Radio 4 - Comedy - Hut 33:
Hut 33 is a new sitcom from the award winning creators of Think the Unthinkable
And, I don’t seem to be able to get realdump to work properly to grab it. Not that I’d have the first few episodes, anyway. I have to just hope that the ABC decide to play it, and I remember to listen…

iTunes/iPod Podcast handling

I can’t remember exactly when, but at some stage in the not too distant future, iTunes/iPod Podcast handling got a whole lot better. It used to be that if you started to listen to a Podcast, it was marked as “Not New”, and was no longer synced to the iPod. This is no longer true - it now syncs all Podcasts that have a play count of 0. It kinda caught me a bit by surprise, when I came across some Podcasts I was sure I’d listened to, and when I played them, I only got the last few seconds. I must have started a new track playing before the end.

iTunes losing Podcast episodes

For my daily commuting, which recently has been almost entirely on bicycle, I subscribe to a series of podcasts. These are mainly from the ABC in Australia, but thrown into the mix is the NewScientist podcast. Back when I was on dialup, I used a neato trick to download podcasts using wget, and then import them from the local machine when they were fully downloaded. This was mainly because wget is better at resuming downloads than iTunes was then, and to a certain extent still is. At least now you can pause and resume some downloads, but iTunes still times out long before wget does. I used this same trick a couple of weeks ago when the NewScientist server had some sort of an issue, and the long and the short of that was that I had some entries in the NetInfo database, and I still had a couple for the NewScientist servers. And because of that, wasn’t actually downloading the newer podcasts since then. I fixed that problem, but now I’ve come across another. Two podcasts are missing from the list - the two most recent. I know iTunes tried to download them a couple of times, but it’s like I clicked on them and pressed Delete. And then, I wasn’t able to get them to come back. I tried unsubscribing, and then resubscribing, but no joy. And then I happened across a hint on MacOSXHints.com (Re-download podcasts without subscribing again):

After that, I collapsed the podcast series by clicking the triangle, and then expanded it again while holding the option key

Bingo. This has apparently fixed it all up.

Psychobabble Bullshit

I listen to a variety of Podcasts, including All In The Mind, “Radio National’s weekly foray into all things mental,” and generally like it. As I’m known to do, I take exception (or get annoyed) with particular segments. The two podcasts I listened to today irked me especially. The first was a discussion of Placenta Brain, and the general consensus was that it doesn’t exist. I know of this phenomenon by it’s alternative name, Mummy Mind, and I have seen it in all of the women I am close to who have borne children. The general theories go like this: somehow (possibly due to hormones) women become different during pregnancy, often exhibiting behaviours they wouldn’t normally, like leaving their car running when running an errand, and being surprised to see if running when they return. I would go somewhat further than this. Bearing children permanently damages their minds. My sister, who was a perfectly normal, intelligent person, suddenly started making inane comments about all sorts of things. Something which she had not done before giving birth to my favourite nephew. I had grown up with my mother making crazy statements (often obvious ones) and had just put this down to it being her. After my sister had her baby, if occurred to me that Mum had been smart in her youth (her school reports, and discussion with friends and family from that era confirm this) and had simply lost her marbles (not totally) after giving birth. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my mother and sister very much. I don’t profess that they are totally bonkers, just not as “sharp” as they used to be. And giving birth seems to be, for both of them, the turning point in their lives as intelligent individuals. More than just the impairment during pregnancy, I think it seems to linger… • The second podcast was an interview with a Jewish Psychiatrist practicing in Israel, and treating both Israelis and Palestinians. This seemed to set him off on a good path, but he started to throw in some pretty inane language himself, particularly some of the Jungian Jargon (Always Alliterate!!!) and I quickly lost respect for him. It’s the first Podcast for a long time I have skipped the end of. His discussion of recurring dreams was a particular annoyance of mine: I can’t find the exact quote in the transcript, but it was something like:

The thing about recurring dreams is that they are telling the mind something. And the fact they repeat is because the mind “just doesn’t get it.”

I’m still of the impression that dreams have very little relation to reality. If we can see something in our dreams, it is only because we want to. Dreams are like “random events”, or spring cleaning of the brain’s circuitry. Any relationship to real life is only because there are all these events, images, sounds, memories, and our mind just attempts to fit them into what it perceives as reality. Forcing the facts to fit a theory, as it were. Anyway, he started to go on with a bit of rubbish after that - I’d arrived home (hardest ride I’d had for a while, pretty much head-wind all of the way home, with a bit of a rise for the last kilometre or so), and often while I continue to the end, I skipped it. • Now, before I get too many nasty comments about the first part - please note that I’ve deliberately played it up a little. My family are not loopy (perhaps just a little, but that’s a whole other story). I’m merely stating the anecdotal evidence I have seen about cognitive deterioration during, and indeed after, pregnancy. And, I have some other cases, but I’m saving them for my paper on the topic… after all, Fraud, ahem, Freud, Jung’s mentor, based all of his theories on a handful of cases.

Dr. Karl cracks a funny

Dr Karl from ABC radio is a funny, clever man. One of his recent podcasts/radio segments was called “Pluck for Luck,” and discussed four-leaf clovers. The funny thing he said almost slipped past my attention the first time around:

Stressors can come in a variety of forms. Drought, rain, aphids, Leprechauns, …

I had to listen to it again, just to see if I’d heard it right!

Podcasts can be TV too!

I’ve stopped downloading the Chaser podcasts, since the quality is too poor, and I want to keep those for posterity. However, as a bit of a whinge, it did make something clear to me. Apple thinks podcasts can’t be TV shows, or movies. If you try a Get Info on a video podcast, and wish to make it into a TV show, so you can organise it properly within your library, you can’t. This option is grayed out in the Video tab.

Pass In Time • “Central Reservation” • Beth Orton

Fixing dodgy podcast downloads

I listen to Podcasts rather than music most of my commuting time now. One of the ones I subscribe to is The Science Show, from ABC Radio National. Back when I was on dialup, I used to wget the podcasts, and then add them to iTunes using a cool little hack, where I made my computer think it’s own IP address was the address of the abc.net.au server. Then I didn’t have to worry about iTunes not finishing a download, and having to start over. Resumable downloads rock. However, sometimes I would not get all of the file, and not realise. Thus, the other day I was listening to a great segment on Mathematics and the Brain, when the program stopped. I had only grabbed 33 minutes of the 48 minute program. Trying to get iTunes to re-download a podcast is tricky, so instead I used wget to grab the full file, and then deleted the original iTunes file. I then replaced it with my new one. All fixed. This is a side-effect of the fact that iTunes doesn’t keep that good of a track of files. You can move files out from underneath it, and it can’t find them. I’ve come across this from the other perspective - we share the same directory for storing two people’s iTunes libraries, so we don’t have duplicates of all of the same music - but in this case, I used it to my advantage.

Nova 919 are liars!

The radio was tuned to 91.9FM last night, while I worked away on the computer. By worked, I mean played, but that’s irrelevant. So, I listened to the same songs over and over again, and I’m okay with that. Because, at least one segment was where listeners voted, so they must just be choosing those songs, hey? And, amazingly, the #1 and #2 songs both had 20% of the votes each, and in fact it came down to one vote between the two songs! So, imagine my surprise when, tonight, as I have a short break from WoW to make Chai, that on comes the stupid Nova bimbo, and there is one vote between songs #1 and #2 again. Now, this cannot possibly be true. And, what’s worse, is it’s totally meaningless anyway. I mean, both songs get played, right? What’s the point in having all of this fuss over it? If it were a difference between songs #5 and #6, and they were only playing 5 songs, then it would make sense. Or, if the loser were to never be played again. I don’t get it. Why do Nova feel the need to lie to their audience, just to try to get them to vote for songs in a crappy, meaningless competition?

Nova: 91-point-crap

We’ve had Nova 91.9 playing while we’ve been painting the last couple of nights. Some of the music is okay, but last night I noticed they are playing exactly the same songs as the night before. That’s okay - the young folk today are so whacked out on drugs (prescription, as well as recreational) so they probably don’t remember that these songs were on last night too. After about three hours, I realised they were playing a whole heap of songs for the second time that night! I mean, come on. You needs to smoke shit-loads of drugs to forget the songs that played in the last three hours. And it wasn’t just one or two, but more like all of them. Are the programmers so lazy they only program half a night worth of music, and just play it all twice? I want that job!